'Our Back Pages (Part 2)', Opening Comments by 
  Rich & Nicki; title illo by Sheryl Birkhead
Welcome back, to the second part of A Mimosa Fanthology. What you're reading is a collection of some of our favorite articles from Mimosa, in this case from issues 17-27. The first 16 issues of Mimosa, all produced the traditional fannish way by mimeograph, had brought us three Hugo Awards, in 1992, 1993, and 1994, but by the end of 1994 we had thought we'd reached the point where we'd taken Mimosa about as far as we were going to, at least in production and appearance. It turned out we were wrong, however -- an event on January 3, 1995 threw our lives into turmoil, and prevented us from publishing another issue for almost a year:

Date: Tue, 3 Jan 1995 21:15:06 0500 (EST)
E-mail to: FanFriends Distribution List
From: Richard Lynch

Not sure if this is the best way of passing on some news, but it's probably one of the quickest. About six hours ago, there was a fire in the townhouse next door to us. We smelled the smoke before we saw it billowing out from under the front door of the neighbor's place (10 feet across the small courtyard, facing our front door). The fire departments (several of them) arrived pretty quickly, but the neighbor's place was a total loss. In the process of putting out the fire, our home was severely damaged. The fire brigades had to chop open roofs, break down firewalls, etc. to make sure the fire did not spread.

The Fire Marshall let me back in our home, briefly. It was pretty discouraging. Ceilings and walls were down in all rooms. We're staying in a hotel now (the Holiday Inn in Gaithersburg). We are down to the clothes on our back for tonight, at least. It will be several weeks, perhaps months, before we can return home to live.

Oh well, life goes on...

Best regards for the new year for everyone,
from Richard and Nicki Lynch

It was a very bad fire. Three fire companies were called in, and it took more than four hours to put it out. The townhouse where the fire started was totally destroyed; ours suffered severe fire damage in the attic, on the back deck, and in an upstairs bedroom, and almost everything in the house had smoke and/or water damage. Luckily, nobody was injured and there was only one casualty, a large, friendly Labrador Retriever who lived in the neighbors' townhouse and had no escape when the fire started. His remains were never found.

We never lived in that townhouse again; we sold it as soon as it was fully restored and bought the single family house where we live now. But that restoration, due to a series of interminable delays, kept us in an apartment (a fourth floor walk-up) for a full year (the original estimate had been three months), without access to our mimeo-graphs and printing supplies. By that time, the commercial printer who had reproduced some of our covers had offered us a deal on printing Mimosa in the format this issue appears. And so we never used our mimeographs again.

But even though the look had changed, Mimosa remained mostly the same in terms of content -- there was still an emphasis on preserving the history of fandom, with first-person articles about fandom and things fans do. Above all, we've tried to keep Mimosa entertaining for the reader, and we hope we've always been able to brighten your day whenever you've read Mimosa. Hearing back from you has always brightened ours.
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We should mention that once again, this is an 'editors choice' fanthology -- we selected articles for reprint that we thought were entertaining and well-written, and once again we faced some hard choices on which articles we'd have to omit to keep the page count of this issue under control. We again decided to limit ourselves to printing only one article by any contributor, and the articles that do appear here are accompanied by the same artwork from when they were first published.

Mimosa 17 front cover by Steve Stiles Mimosa 17 was, published in October 1995, was the first of the 'new look' run of Mimosas. We weren't sure how well it would be accepted with our readers, but the comments we got back were mostly supportive. Elst Weinstein wrote that "your production values have not diminished despite your conflagration woes," while Rodney Leighton, more to the point, advised us that "it would be more sensible to go with the printer and retire the mimeo to its proper place in history and antiquity." And so we did. The overall appearance was definitely better, and even though it was more expensive to print the fanzine that way, the savings of a week's effort in printing and collating was just too appealing to ignore.

Steve Stiles provided the cover for M17, an esoteric homage to the late fan artist Arthur Thomson which caused Vincent Clarke to write us that "I always have an uneasy feeling about Steve Stiles's stuff. He seems to work in some sort of trufan environment from which I'm excluded."

Unlike some of our previous issues and most of the subsequent ones, the contents of the issue didn't reflect any particular theme. It included the twelfth in Dave Kyle's continuing series of autobiographical remembrances, this time about worldcon banquets, and also the twelfth of Sharon Farber's "Tales of Adventure and Medical Life" series (probably our most popular continuing series), which had helped earn her four consecutive nominations for the Best Fan Writer Hugo. Ben Zuhl told of the origin of the Spayed Gerbil (the drink, not the rodent), while Ahrvid Engholm told of the origin of several Scandinavian "Silly Fan Games." Forry Ackerman wrote about worldcons of the 1940s, while Walt Willis described the short fan career of writer and political essayist Robert Conquest. Besides these, Michael A. Burstein contributed an excellent article about his experiences at the annual Clarion writers conference, and there were two articles (one of them by Esther Cole) in remembrance of one of fandom's best friends, Robert Bloch, who had died a few months earlier.

The other Bloch remembrance was by Dean A. Grennell, who was one of the most notable fans in the decade of the 1950s. Besides being a fanzine publisher and an excellent fan writer in his own right, Dean was also one of fandom's best photographers and also, as we'll see, a very competent woodworker:

Title illustration by Sheryl Birkhead
Mimosa 17 cover by Steve Stiles

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